ALA names Leslie Burger as interim executive director

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Leslie Burger

Leslie Burger is ALA’s new interim executive director, the Association’s Executive Board announced November 15. Burger served as ALA president for the 2006–2007 term. She also served as executive director of Princeton (N.J.) Public Library (PPL) from 1999–2016. Currently, Burger is founding partner of Library Development Solutions, a library consulting service, in New York City and an adjunct professor of library science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. ALA’s Executive Board is continuing its search for a permanent executive director. Former Executive Director Tracie D. Hall ....

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 15; Oct. 5

Dispatches by Ann Medaille

Ann Medaille writes: “Playing a game. Constructing with blocks. Designing a dress. What do these activities have in common? All involve the imagination. A person’s capacity to imagine not only improves their happiness and well-being, but it can also help them learn better, according to a 2015 study in . While libraries can be places for quiet contemplation and intense concentration, they are also places of fun, exploration, and imagination. Librarians can support imaginative learning for those of all ages by providing opportunities for play and creative expression.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.

On My Mind by Jules LeFort

Jules LeFort writes: “My university, like many other institutions across the US, offers an education program for incarcerated people in our state. In spring 2023, the program included—for the first time—a library representative, a role I have happily stepped into. I came into this role blindly, uncertain how I could effectively communicate and connect with nontraditional students in a setting that was unfamiliar to me. Through trial and error—and despite limited resources—I have found these processes help me provide the best reference help for incarcerated students.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.



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Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction 2024 Shortlist, with a montage of the titles on the list.

ALA announced the six books shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction November 14. The awards recognize the previous year’s best fiction and nonfiction books written for adult readers and published in the US. The two medal winners will be announced at 9:45 a.m. Eastern on January 20, 2024, during the Reference and User Services Association’s Book and Media Awards virtual event, held during in Baltimore....

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 14

2025-2026 ALA Presidential Candidates Sam Helmick and Raymond Pun

The candidates running for ALA president for the 2025–2026 term are Sam Helmick, community and access services coordinator at Iowa City Public Library, and Raymond Pun, academic and research librarian at Alder Graduate School of Education in Redwood City, California. The ALA Nominating Committee also . Helmick and Pun, as well as any petition candidates for president, will take part in a virtual candidates’ forum at 2 p.m. Central on Thursday, February 8, 2024. Ballot mailing for the election will begin March 11, 2024, and will run through April 3....

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 9

Illustration of a hand depositing a ballot in a box.

Brooke Schultz and Geoff Mulvihill write: “Voters in some of the highest-profile school board elections across the US rebuked conservative candidates in local school board elections who want to ban books and restrict classroom conversations on race and gender. The American Federation of Teachers said candidates publicly endorsed by conservative groups such as Moms for Liberty and the 1776 Project lost about 70% of their races nationally in elections this week—a tally those groups dispute.” Libraries also won high-profile referenda. A after two previous failed attempts threatened to force it to close, and a referendum that would have from the library board to the city council failed....

Associated Press, Nov. 8; Holland (Mich.) Sentinel, Nov. 7; WOI-TV (Des Moines, Iowa), Nov. 8

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Illustration of a chatbot

Lorcan Dempsey writes: “It is now a year since the momentous appearance of ChatGPT. So much has happened in that time, whether one measures by new product and feature announcements; business churn (investment, startups); or policy, safety, and ethical debate. Usage is increasingly integrated into daily applications. Much of this has become routine, some of it is tedious, and much still has the ability to surprise. Capacities continue to expand.” This post, third in a series, focuses on seven aspects of artificial intelligence that will affect how it can be used by libraries....

Lorcandempsey.net, Nov. 12

Bates Hall at Boston Public Library

Tom McGrath writes: “A public library is, depending on your choice of metaphor, either an act of faith or a bet. The proposition: If we can make information and ideas—in short, human knowledge—easily accessible to average people, then they’re not only likely to lead richer and more productive lives, but they are also more likely to contribute to making the overall community richer and more productive. As gambles go, it’s a pretty smart—and safe—one.”...

Boston, Nov. 12

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission logo

Mead Gruver writes: “She refused to ban books, many of them about racism and the experiences of LGBTQ+ people. And for that, Suzette Baker was fired as a library director in a rural county in central Texas. Now, Baker is fighting back. She and two other librarians who were similarly fired have filed workplace discrimination claims with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And as culture war battles to keep certain books from children and teens put public and school libraries increasingly under pressure, their goal is redemption and, where possible, eventual reinstatement.”...

Associated Press, Nov. 8

ALA news and press releases

Bookshelves loaded with children's books.

Elizabeth Heubeck writes: “It’s difficult to quantify all the potential benefits that students miss out on when they lack regular access to active certified school librarians or library media specialists, as they are sometimes called. But research and anecdotes show the range of losses extends from basic literacy lessons and the opportunity to learn research skills to powerful collaborations that can engage students and inspire a love of reading. School library impact studies consistently show a positive correlation between the literacy achievement of students who attend schools with full-time, professional school librarians compared to students who do not.”...

Education Week, Nov. 9

Google Chrome window showing the translation feature.

David Nield writes: “We live in a multilingual world, which is represented in the billions of pages published on the web—but just because a website isn’t written in your native tongue doesn’t mean that you can’t read it. All of the most popular browsers come with translation tools built-in on desktop and mobile, so you don’t have to limit your reading to sites in your own language. Here’s how it works on four of the most well-known web browsers.”...

Gizmodo, Nov. 11

Gothenburg City Library

“Last Saturday [November 4], 450 people visited Gothenburg City Library—when it was supposed to be closed. Someone had forgotten to lock the library the previous day. When library director Annacarin Elf arrived at the site, she noticed that the visitors were behaving as usual, reading newspapers, choosing between books and working at computers. Some 250 books had been borrowed during the day, all via the electronic self-service system. Nothing stolen, nothing broken.”...

Sweden.se Instagram, Nov. 8

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